Fortescue (ASX:FMG) share price down 5% as iron ore retreats

Fortescue shares are down again, following a pullback in iron ore prices.

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Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) shares were selling off sharply on Wednesday. The Fortescue share price closed the day down 5.34% to $14.

Iron ore prices pull back

Iron ore spot prices retreated on Tuesday, amid limited trading at Chinese ports, sources told Fastmarkets.

For instance, benchmark iron ore prices fell US$6.03 or 4.5% to US$129 a tonne.

Chinese iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange also tumbled on Wednesday.

The most active futures contracts for January 2022 delivery is currently down 4.5% to 740 yuan (US$114) a tonne.

What’s next for iron ore?

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group senior commodity strategist Daniel Hynes expects Chinese steel demand to continue to flatline towards the end of the year, according to Bloomberg.

“China’s plans to have a flat steel production growth this year look possible, as output curbs have been accelerated by power shortfalls.”

Hynes said that China, the world’s largest construction and manufacturing material producer, will have to contract 10% in annual terms between September and December to meet its decarbonisation goals.

On the other hand, Commonwealth Bank of Australia commodities analyst Vivek Dhar wrote that “steel output is reportedly set to increase in October in some parts of China, like Tangshan, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui, after these regions exceeded steel production cuts in September.”

Weak steel output could continue into 2022, ahead of Beijing’s Winter Olympic Games in February.

This is because, in the past, authorities have shut down a number of industrial activities near the capital to keep the sky as blue as possible.

Fortescue share price snapshot

Fortescue’s year-to-date return continues to linger around the negative 40% level.

The sharp selling between early August and late September appears to have largely subsided. This is as the Fortescue share price consolidates around the $14 level.

Despite Fortescue shares finding a footing around $14, many experts point to lower iron ore prices in 2022. One such expert is the Australian government’s commodity forecaster, the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE).

The OCE forecasts iron ore to average around US$150 a tonne in 2021. Further, it predicts this will fall to below US$100 a tonne in 2022.

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